Branch was back on the field for practice Monday for the first time all training camp after the minor injury resulted in him missing the Patriots' preseason opener last week. Considering the defensive tackle was unlikely to play more than a series or two in the first exhibition contest, he shouldn't be too far behind the rest of his fellow veterans in his preparation for the upcoming season. Branch is poised to start alongside Malcom Brown in the middle of the defensive line after logging a career-high 49 stops to go with 1.5 sacks in 2016.
The report notes that Branch, who normally skips a large portion of the Patriots' spring practices, typically stays on the team's PUP list until he passes a conditioning test. The 6-foot-6, 350-pounder is coming off a 2016 campaign in which he recorded 49 tackles and 1.5 sacks over the course of 16 regular-season contests. Branch is projected to start in the middle of the Patriots' defensive line along with fellow defensive tackle Malcom Brown.
Branch is a key asset for the Patriots' strong run defense. His 6-6, 350-pound frame clogs up holes in the middle of the line, and he is a key reason why New England ranked fourth in the NFL with only 88.4 rushing yards allowed per game in 2016. The deal will keep Branch with the Patriots through the 2018 season.
Branch (toe) is listed as active for Sunday's Super Bowl LI against the Falcons.
During the second week of prep for the Super Bowl, Branch didn't elevate beyond a limited practice session due to a toe concern. Alas, he could be one of the key factors as he faces off with Atlanta center Alex Mack, who will play through a fractured left fibula in the finale of the 2016 season.
Branch was limited in practice by a toe injury this week, but he's expected to be ready in time for Sunday's 6:30 ET kickoff.
|P3||8/25/17||@ DET||7:00 pm|
|2||9/17/17||@ NO||1:00 pm|
|5||10/5/17||@ TB||8:25 pm|
|6||10/15/17||@ NYJ||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|10||11/12/17||@ DEN||8:30 pm|
|11||11/19/17||@ OAK||4:25 pm|
|13||12/3/17||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|14||12/11/17||@ MIA||8:30 pm|
|15||12/17/17||@ PIT||4:25 pm|
|2014||New England Patriots||8||13||8.0||5||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||1|
|2015||New England Patriots||16||35||22.0||13||1||0||0||0.0||0||0||3|
|2016||New England Patriots||16||49||26.0||23||1.5||0||0||0.0||0||0||3|
|2017||New England Patriots||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2014||New England Patriots||8||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2015||New England Patriots||16||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||New England Patriots||16||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|2017||New England Patriots||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|